740.0011 European War 1939/419: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Steinhardt ) to the Secretary of State

573. My telegram No. 570, September 19, 7 p.m.5 The Polish Ambassador informed me this afternoon in strict confidence that Potemkin6 had told him this morning that he and the members of his staff would leave the Soviet Union as private citizens; that no property was to be taken from the Polish Embassy here; that the Soviet Government was willing that he personally should take with him his personal effects; but that this privilege would not extend to any of the members of his staff. He stated that he had told Potemkin that since his staff was denied that privilege he could not accept it for himself.7

The Ambassador was even doubtful whether adequate facilities for the removal of himself, the members of his staff, and the limited personal baggage which they would be permitted to take with them would be made available by the Soviet Government.

The Ambassador added that Potemkin had informed him that the Soviet Government would not consent to the taking over of Polish interests by any other government represented in Moscow.

The Ambassador remarked in conclusion that yesterday Potemkin had told him that the American press reaction to the Soviet move “to liberate the Ukrainian and White Russians in Poland” had been favorable. It is needless to state here the character of my reply.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Vladimir Petrovich Potemkin, Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  3. In a memorandum of September 20, 1939, the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Loy W. Henderson) wrote:

    “The treatment which is being accorded to the Polish Ambassador and staff in Moscow affords a good example of the relentless hostility of the Soviet Government toward foreign missions in the Soviet Union, as well as its lack of consideration for the members of those missions.

    In all our dealings with the Soviet Government, it is important that we do not for a moment ignore the fact that we are dealing with a group of persons the mentality of which is reflected in these two telegrams.” Reference is to telegrams Nos. 570 and 573, September 19, from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (740.0011 European War 1939/418).